Note: voice over on the video and text summary below
vlog re: chat with AG Bell parents – gives a third reason why the DBC conference rocked for me – dialogue with AG Bell parents
NOTE: at each of the AG Bell Association conferences (state and national) – DBC members were systematically restricted from having direct access and/or contact AG Bell Association attendees
Vlog discusses chat with one hearing mom from the AG Bell Association convention who came over after the Sunday rally and was listening to the interpreter voicing for two DBC media reps as they were interviewed by a newspaper reporter. The woman said “not true, not true” when over hearing some of the statements by DE and Barb so David Reynolds (DBC core member) and i approached her to see if she had any questions or wanted clarification.
When I approached her she threw up her hands and said “I don’t understand sign language” with a look of disgust. David Reynolds talked and signed to her. She had thought the DBC reps were saying that AG Bell association is against ASL when rather they were saying that AG Bell association does not allow for informed choices because they do not explain the value of bilingualism and instead focus on speaking and listening education only.
She explained that she does not support ASL because she does not want her son (15 years old with CI) to need an interpreter when he goes to a restaurant.
Wow that was an eye opener
i discovered i had some myths about AG Bell association – i thought they came off very strong to parents against ASL but seems that most of the folks said no that is not accurate. Although some say that speech, audiologist, specialists, and AG Bell reps at times discourage parents for learning sign so the child wont be dependent on it etc. Through talking with the mom i realized they have some myths about us. We explained that many Deaf folks can talk like David and myself can. Amongst the rally crowd there were many people who could talk and for those who can’t or choose not to they can totally make themselves understood in a restaurant. They do NOT need to bring an interpreter with them to order food. I realized she had not seen what Deaf adult signers are capable of doing before – WOW!
I went back to watching the interview with the reporters and noticed another woman there with an AG Bell badge and asked if she had any questions – she said yes and we got an interpreter and started chatting. She was very warm and receptive and wanted to understand things. She explained that she was surprised to see the DBC reps say that they are not protesting against CI but rather advocating for bilingualism. She had gotten the impression that the rally was about protesting CI – it didnt seem she got that idea via the media but rather from folks talking at the convention. She wanted to talk to us about bilingualism and her daughter, who is five with bilaterial cochlear implants. She expressed concerns that learning ASL would be hard on her daughter as she already has to invest so much in learning spoken language and listening skills. She explained that her daughter is at a reading level of a 10 year old. I remarked that this was an exceptional kid and her reading abilities were probably more about her IQ and parental involvement than her CI. Hearing five year olds who can speak and hear fully do not normally read at the level of a 10 year old unless they are exceptional. I foresee no problem with her daughter picking up ASL.
part II coming soon
Big thanks to the parents who ventured over to chat with us and for DBC for picking their conference to happen simultaneously during the AG Bell Convention to afford this space for an exchange between non-signing parents and folks who support bilingualism